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Painter Michael Lewis to Receive Hartgen Award

The University of Maine Patrons of the Arts board members have selected Michael Lewis, an artist and longtime member of UMaine’s art faculty, as the 2012 Vincent A. Hartgen Award recipient.

Since 1966, Lewis has been an integral member of the University of Maine’s Department of Art, serving as department chair and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Lewis also has a national reputation as a landscape artist. His work, inspired by his hometown of Orono, is unmistakable — brilliant, fiery skyscapes that burst with color, light and spirit.

He exhibits his paintings on a regular basis at Aucocisco Gallery in Portland, Maine. More than 25 of his works are included in the collection of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. His work is also in the collections of the Albertina Museum, Vienna, Austria; the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine; Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine; and others.

Four of Lewis’ paintings were selected for the U.S. Department of State’s Art in the Embassies Program. The paintings were in the American Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, from 2005 to 2007.

Owen Smith, director of UMaine’s Intermedia Master of Fine Arts program, nominated Lewis for the award. He describes Lewis as “the soul of our department.”

“He is a leader in the arts by example, inspiring both his students and his colleagues to be wholly and deeply involved in arts, and to understand the arts not only as an area of study but as a way of making a full and rich life,” Smith says. “Many UMaine students who have gone on to successful careers in the visual arts owe, in part, their success to Mike’s teaching, his spirit of giving and his enthusiasm for all that art can be.”

The Hartgen award is given each year in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement of the arts at the university. Vincent Hartgen was a famous Maine artist and founding member of the University of Maine Department of Art and what is now the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor.

The awards ceremony will take place May 11 at Buchanan Alumni House. For more information, call Cathy Brown at 581-4703.

Contact: Danny Williams, 581-5100; Michael Lewis: 581-3279

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